FEMA says some tornado victims were overpaid by agency

Agency warns that phone calls claiming to be from FEMA asking for money are not legitimate.

Some Dayton-area tornado survivors who were paid financial compensation from the Federal Emergency Management Association have received a letter from the agency notifying them that they have been overcompensated.

Leo Skinner, a FEMA spokesperson, said that the agency has sent six Dayton area individuals a letter about recouping money. Each letter has a full explanation of why FEMA is asking for the money back, and each recipient has the option to appeal.

While FEMA was unable to say why or by how much these six individuals were overcompensated, Skinner said none of them are being asked to return funds due to suspected fraud.

FEMA said recouping money isn’t out of the norm for the agency.

Fears of scam spread as victims get calls

In recent days, local tornado recovery groups on Facebook have had posts about individuals receiving calls from people claiming to be FEMA and asking for the individual to return some amount of money.

ExploreRELATED: Get latest tornado recovery news, watch video and more

Skinner emphasized that official FEMA correspondence regarding recouping money goes out by mail or an email that redirects you to certified FEMA correspondence.

“If anyone has received a call from somebody posing as a FEMA employee asking them to return money; we do not do that,” Skinner said. “We have called people to ask about their recovery… but we would never call and ask for money over the phone.”

While FEMA asks for money back from six individuals, tornado survivors who feel undercompensated wonder what their options for recourse are.

Samuel Anderson, a local contractor who has been unable to work because his truck was rendered unusable by the storms, said it has been frustrating for him and many others because the assistance they’ve received is not enough to cover the costs of the storm.

“I think a lot of people, including myself, had different assumptions of how this was going to play out,” Anderson said. “I didn’t expect every penny to be covered…but what was given, it was nowhere near [what I needed].”

Erin Gaddis, FEMA media relations specialist said any person who registered for FEMA assistance has the option to appeal the agency’s decision. If an individual was denied financial assistance or believe they simply did not receive enough of what they are eligible for, they have 60 days to appeal FEMA’s decision.

Gaddis said that FEMA has distributed $3.4 million in disaster assistance throughout Ohio. $2.6 million of that has gone to Montgomery County’s 1,800 FEMA registrants, and $185,000 has gone to Greene County’s 500 registrants.

The deadline to register for FEMA assistance is Aug. 19. Gaddis said that individuals who feel undercompensated should visit one of the agency’s disaster centers to potentially receive more help.

FEMA is interested in learning more about potential scammers. You can report fraud to the Office of Inspector General at 1-800-323-8603.


Find out how to get help, watch videos, read past stories about the Memorial Day tornadoes and more at DaytonDailyNews.com/tornado


Online: www.DisasterAssistance.gov

Mobile device: FEMA App

Phone: 800-621-3362 (including 711 or Video Relay). TTY users can call 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Multilingual operators are available.

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